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UEFA Nations League: Lackluster England host Italy on June 11 in must-win showdown

June 11, 2022 By Ali M.
The Three Lions, who boast a mere point, sit bottom of the table and will need to beat the Azzurri on Saturday in order to rescue their campaign.

Preview

The UEFA Nations League action continues this midweek as two of the continent's biggest national teams prepare to face off on Saturday. They are England and Italy, with the Three Lions set to host the opposition at the Molineux Stadium in what should be both an interesting and crucial fixture in League A Group 3.

The pressure is on England for this tie, and for understandable reasons. Heading into this game, Italy top the table while Gareth Southgate's side sit dead bottom, boasting only one point after two games while the Italians have four under their belt.

The Three Lions kicked off their campaign with a drab 1-0 loss to Hungary, with Kane and Co. struggling to threaten the opposition goal while looking shaky at the back. Dominik Szoboszlai netted the winner for the opposition, albeit through a controversial penalty, handing the English a huge blow.

Matchday 2 saw the 1966 World Cup winners travel once more, this time heading to Munich to face Germany. And once again, despite shifting to a four-at-the-back system, Southgate's men struggled as Kimmich, Musiala, and Gundogan dominated the likes of Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham – who came on as an early sub after Kalvin Philipps limped off injured – and Mason Mount.

Kane, Sterling, and Saka led the line but also struggled to break down die Mannschaft while Maguire, Stones, Trippier, and Walker looked shaky at the back. Nonetheless, the Germans could not find the back of the net in the first half despite coming close on a few occasions and were forced to wait until after the break for the opener.

Jonas Hoffman broke the deadlock for Flick's side in the 50th minute, with Jordan Pickford failing to cover himself in glory for that goal. From then on, it looked like Germany would run away with the game but England managed to hold onto that one-nil deficit until they were awarded a late penalty, which Kane converted with ease.

Just like England, Italy drew 1-1 with Germany as well. Their showdown with Muller and Co. came in the opening round as Roberto Mancini's side looked to bounce back from their embarrassing 3-0 loss to Argentina at Wembley in Finalissima. Unfortunately, a point was all they could muster in Bologna.

Lorenzo Pellegrini gave the Azzurri the lead in that affair after a cagey first half, with the Roma ace breaking the deadlock in the 70th minute. The home fans began dreaming of an opening day victory over their bitter rivals but, sadly for the hosts, the lead did not last long as Joshua Kimmich equalized for the visitors only three minutes later.

The four-time World Cup winners enjoyed their second match, however, as they took on and beat Austria to clinch their first victory of the tournament. Pellegrini got himself on the scoresheet once more while Barella, who returned to the lineup after sitting out the draw with Germany, also got a goal en route to a 2-1 victory.

Saturday's clash will be the first time Italy face England since the Euro 2022 final last summer, a game which saw Jorginho and Co. triumph on penalties. However, a lot has changed for the European champions since, with the old guard being ushered out, namely Chiellini and Bonucci. It will be interesting to see whether Mancini's exciting—but young—squad can get the better of the Three Lions for the second time in a row.

Team news

England: While Kalvin Phillips avoided a worrisome injury, instead suffering a severe dead leg, the Leeds ace is unlikely to be back in time for this fixture, meaning Bellingham should return to the lineup. Trent Alexander-Arnold has left the camp for some rest while Fikayo Tomori and James Justin remain sidelined. 

Jack Grealish will be pushing for a start after his brilliant cameo against Germany, as will Aaron Ramsdale after Jordan Pickford's error, while Tammy Abraham will be hopeful for some minutes on the pitch.

Italy: The Azzurri's lineup is harder to predict as Mancini, who is ushering in a new age with the national team, is likely to change a few players and test new things. Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Belotti aren't with the squad anymore, meaning the center-back and striker have no chance of featuring, while Alessandro Florenzi, Francesco Acerbi and Gianluca Scamacca will wish to return to the lineup.

Juventus and AC Milan midfield maestros Manuel Locatelli and Sandro Tonali will be vying for playing time, but it remains unknown whether they will displace Bryan Cristante.

Key stats

  • England have failed to win their last two games in a row, the first time they've gone winless in back-to-back matches since September 2018.

  • Interestingly, Italy are unbeaten in away games since September 2018, with their last defeat on the road coming against Portugal in the UEFA Nations League.

  • The Three Lions have managed three clean sheets out of their last six games while the Azzurri have conceded in all of their last five outings. 

  • Harry Kane's goal against Germany was his 50th for his national team. The Tottenham star is now three away from equaling Wayne Rooney as the country's all-time top scorer and is four away from claiming that record for himself.

Broadcast listings

 

Match details, result and original broadcast info

England 0 - 0 Italy

June 11, 2022 2:45pmMolineux Stadium (Wolverhampton, West Midlands)

This match has ended. Below are the original Live broadcast details for this match.

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